Doug Ford is once again showing us who he really is. Bruce Arthur writes:
Ontario’s independent volunteer science table, an invaluable source of information and direction throughout the pandemic, has been told it will be dissolved.
It would be an abrupt and shocking move from Public Health Ontario, which had agreed to take the table of more than 40 scientists from its previous home at the University of Toronto, and negotiated terms of reference with then-co-chair Steini Brown over the summer.
The Ministry of Health denies the table will be shut down, saying “the work of the (science advisory table) would continue,” and when pressed, “the SAT is not being shut down.”
But according to a summary circulated among the science table and obtained by the Star, new PHO head Michael Sherar told the table on Aug. 18 that he would shut it down Sept. 6. The science table’s peerless pandemic dashboard would be eliminated, its access to data gone, its projects stranded. In its place, PHO would establish a hand-picked 15-person advisory group with no formal scientific director, limited independence from PHO or the chief medical officer of health — no ability to unilaterally choose topics of study, for instance — and far less clinical expertise.
Conversations with both PHO and table sources confirmed the contents of the letter, which painstakingly charts the past month’s negotiations.
Even if dissolution were a negotiating tactic, there does not seem to be a path here.
Ford is currently ramming a bill through the provincial legislature which would move patients from hospital beds to long-term beds up to three hundred kilometers from their homes without their consent. The bill will not go to committee and it will not be debated.
For Ford, this is democracy in action.